1956 Pontiac Full Size Cars Fact Sheet
Small Changes Only –
in Anticipation of the 1957 Pontiacs
Revised Pontiac styling for 1956 featured combination bumper and grille with enclosed circular parking lights and round, turbine intake-type bumper guards.
General Year Information
New Pontiac styling for 1956 featured combination bumper grilles with enclosed circular parking lights and round, bomb-type bumper guards. All models had reversed, vertically-slanting, slash accent moldings and an upper body ‘Sweepspear’ as body rub trim.
On Chieftains the slash accents were of constant width. There were oval embossments with reflectors on the rear fenders with gull-wing and circular medallions on the deck lid. Special-level Chieftain 860s lacked upper belt moldings, wore small hub caps, and had plain tail light rings.
Chieftain 860 Wagons had distinctive rear ventipanes. The 2-door 860 Chieftain wagon was called the “Colony Wagon” in some promotional materials. The term “Catalina” was used to denote pillarless two-door or four-door hardtop styling for 1956. Two-doors hardtops were “Catalina Coupes” and four-doors hardtops were “Catalina Sedans”.
Model year production peaked at 405,429 units, a decrease of 148,677 from 1955 but still better than 1954.
In March 1956, an “Extra Horsepower” V-8 was released, with 10.0:1 compression cylinder heads, dual four-barrel Rochester carburetors, and a high-lift, long duration camshaft. It is estimated that 200 cars were equipped with this motor.
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Series 56-27. Chieftain 860s did not receive upper belt moldings, were fitted with small hub caps, and had plain taillight rings. Chieftain 870 models, with the exception of station wagons, had taillight rings with visors, full wheel discs, and upper belt line trim. The two-door Custom Safari was continued as a Star Chief model; however, it was still on the Chieftain chassis, now with the base four-barrel Star Chief engine.
An 860 level Catalina Hardtop Coupe was new. And the four-door hardtop was available as both 860 and 870 models and designated as Catalina Sedans. In some factory literature, Chieftain 870s were called “Super Chiefs.”
Series 57-28. All 1956 Star Chiefs were distinguished by tapered diagonal accent slash moldings on front doors and three stylized star emblems on front fenders and doors. Convertibles and Catalina hardtops had wide, fluted lower rear fender extensions.
The Custom Catalina sedan was retained, and it had stainless steel window surround moldings. All Custom Star Chiefs used hooded taillight rings. Interiors could be had in all leather or leather and nylon fabric.
Series 56-27. All wagons were on the Series 27, 122.0″ wheelbase chassis. Only the Star Chief wagon was called “Safari”. This model featured the Star Chief Custom interior with a choice of all leather or leather and nylon. The Safari, though considered a Star Chief, also sat on the shorter 122.0″ wheelbase.
The other wagons were in the 870 and 860 lines, with the 870 wagon a 4-door. It was trimmed as all other 870 series models. The 860 Series wagons came in two- and four-door models and were trimmed similar to the 860 line. The four-door had available 9-passenger seating.
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- 287 CID V-8 173 HP
- 317 CID V-8 192 HP
- 317 CID V-8 205 HP
- 317 CID V-8 216 HP
- 317 CID V-8 227 HP
- 317 CID V8 285 HP
EARLY 860-870 Economy V-8 – Manual Transmission. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 287.2 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.750″ x 3.250″. Compression ratio: 7.4:1. Horsepower: 173 @ 4400. Torque: 260 @ 2400 RPM Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 269°, Exhaust 270°, Overlap 49°, Lift 0.327″. Carburetor: Carter WGD two-barrel Model 2182S, 2182SA, 2182SB, 2207S, or 2207SB.
860-870 Economy V-8 – Manual Transmission. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 316.6 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.9375″ x 3.25″. Compression ratio: 7.9:1. Horsepower: 192 @ 4400. Torque: 297 @ 2400 RPM Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 269°, Exhaust 270°, Overlap 49°, Lift 0.370″. Carburetor: Rochester 2GC two-barrel Model 7008696.
860-870 V-8 – Hydra-matic Transmission. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 316.6 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.9375″ x 3.25″. Compression ratio: 8.9:1. Horsepower: 205 @ 4800. Torque: 394 @ 2600 RPM. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 280°, Exhaust 280°, Overlap 55°, Lift 0.400″. Carburetor: Rochester 2GC two-barrel Model 7008695.
Star Chief and Safari Economy V-8 – Standard Transmission. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 316.6 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.9375″ x 3.25″. Compression ratio: 8.5:1. Horsepower: 216 @ 4800. Torque: 315 @ 2800 RPM Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 269°, Exhaust 270°, Overlap 49°, Lift 0.370″. Carburetor: Carter WCFB 2364S.
Star Chief & Safari V-8 – Hydra-matic Transmission. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 316.6 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.9375″ x 3.25″. Compression ratio: 8.9:1. Horsepower: 227 @ 4800. Torque: 359 @ 2800 RPM. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 280°, Exhaust 280°, Overlap 55°, Lift 0.400″. Carburetor: Carter WCFB four-barrel Model 2364S or Rochester Model 7008697.
NOTE: This engine was later optional on all 860-870 Chieftains, including wagons.
Optional “Extra Horsepower” V-8 – Available All Models. Overhead valves. Cast iron block. Displacement: 316.6 CID. Bore and stroke: 3.9375″ x 3.25″. Compression ratio: 10.0:1. Horsepower: 285 @ 5100 RPM. Torque: 330 @ 3600 RPM. Five main bearings. Hydraulic valve lifters. Camshaft Duration: Intake 289°, Exhaust 298°, Overlap 71°, Intake Lift 0.409″, Exhaust Lift 0.413″. Carburetors: two 4-barrel Rochester carburetors Models: Front & Rear 7009820. Single-breaker ignition.
More detailed information on the 1956 317 CID V-8 engines may be found in the 1956 AMA Specifications Sheets. You may access the sheets HERE or use the navigation on this Fact Sheet’s main page.
- Wheelbase: Series 27 – 122″, Series 28 – 124″.
- Overall length: Series 27 passenger cars – 205.6″, Series 27 station wagons – 206.0″, Safari only – 206.7″, Series 28 – 212.6″.
- Front tread: (All) 58.66″.
- Rear tread: (All) 59.05″.
- Tires: (passenger cars) 7.10 x 15; (station wagons 7.60 x 15, tubeless type. with Synchromesh 7.50 x 14 station wagons and Bonneville 8.50 x 14; all others 8.00 x 14.Coupes and Sedans 8.00 x 14 Station wagons and all w/Air conditioning 8.50 x 14.
Power Train Options
- A three-speed Synchromesh gear box with column mounted shift was the base price transmission.
- The D-56 Dual-Range Hydra-matic ($188) was available in both the 860 and 870 models.
- A new Strato-Flight Hydra-matic ($205) was used in two-door Star Chief Custom Safaris and all Series 28 models.
- Standard rear axle gear ratios: (Synchromesh) 3.64:1; (Hydra-matic) 3.23:1. Additional ratios were also available.
- Dual exhausts were optional o all Pontiacs except the Chieftain 860 three seat station wagon where it was not available.
- Cars with the “Extra Horsepower” V-8 had dual exhaust as standard.
- Four-barrel carburetion “Star Chief Engine” was optional for Chieftain 860 and 870 models, as was the Extra Horsepower V-8.
Three Speed Manual Transmission Ratios: 1st – 2.39:1, 2nd – 1.53:1, 3rd – 1:1, Reverse – 2.53:1
- Series 27 Optional: 1st – 4.10:1, 2nd – 2.63:1, 3rd – 1.56:1, 4th – 1:1, Reverse – 4.62:1
- All Series Standard: 1st – 3.97:1, 2nd – 2.55:1, 3rd – 1.55:1, 4th – 1:1, Reverse – 4.31:1
Rear Gear Standard Ratios: See Page 15 in the 1956 Pontiac Full Size AMA Specifications Sheet for all standard/optional ratios. Click HERE to view the AMA Specification Sheets
Body Paint Color Codes
Click on the Paint Code Name to See the Mix Codes for the appropriate color:
|A Raven Black|
|B Chesapeake Blue|
|C Olympic Blue|
|E Phantom Gray|
|F Grenada Gold|
|G Bolero Red|
|H Hialeah Green|
|I Malabar Yellow|
|J Vista Blue|
|K Nimbus Gray|
|L Glendale Green|
|M Terragon Green|
|N Sandalwood Tan|
|O Kerry Green|
|P Sun Beige|
|Q Catalina Blue|
|S Sandalwood Tan|
|T Sun Beige|
|U Marina Blue|
|V Avalon Blue|
|W Sun Beige|
|X Rodeo Beige|
|Y Rodeo Beige|
|P,W Sun Beige|
1956 Pontiac –
Current Market Values
- 1956 Pontiac Chieftain Valuation Tool
- 1956 Pontiac Super Chief Valuation Tool
- 1956 Pontiac Star Chief Valuation Tool
- 4-Way manual seat ($40).
- 6-Way power seat ($93).
- Air-conditioning ($431).
- Arctic windshield wipers.
- Autronic Eye.
- Dash panel courtesy lamps.
- DeLuxe steering wheel for Special station wagons.
- Directional signals.
- Door edge guards.
- Door handle guards.
- Electric antenna.
- Electric window lifts.
- Fender skirts ($11).
- Glove box lamp.
- Grille bug screen.
- Lighted ash tray.
- Padded dashboard.
- Power brakes ($38).
- Power steering ($108).
- Power windows ($97).
- Radio, Standard ($90)
- Radio, deluxe ($118)
- Rear seat speaker.
- Reduced ratio power steering.
- Remote control outside mirrors.
- Safety spot lamp.
- Seat belts ($11 per passenger)
- Trunk lamp.
- Under hood lamp.
- Visor vanity mirror.
- Windshield washers.
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